All NCAA basketball championship odds listed are as of 11/10/2021.
It’s been two years in the making, but we are finally back to having a “normal” college basketball season with a full slate of games and stands full of fans.
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After a busy summer in the transfer portal, many of this year’s men’s national championship favorites bring in experienced transfers alongside their own returning talent. Here’s the prognosis for the five teams with the current best NCAA championship odds.
+600 to win the National Championship; +130 to make the Final Four
It’s no surprise that last year’s runner-up is the favorite to win it all this year: the Bulldogs bring back Wooden-award favorite Drew Timme, who will be joined by 7-foot five-star Chet Holmgrem, 2021’s no. 1 prospect. The rest of the starting five is rounded out by other producing returners from last season’s run and another top 25 prospect in Nolan Hickman.
In usual Zaga fashion, the Bulldogs play a loaded non-conference schedule to test their mettle early with matchups against Texas, UCLA, Duke, Alabama, and Texas Tech. If you’re on the fence about betting the Bulldogs, these early matchups should provide some key insight before they cruise through the WCC en route to a 10th straight conference championship.
+900 to win the National Championship; +170 to make the Final Four
Juwan Howard has set the bar high for himself after guiding his alma mater to a conference title and a number one seed in just his second season as head coach. Although five of the seven top scorers from that team are gone, he’ll still have the pieces for a repeat run.
Incoming freshmen Caleb Houstan and Moussa Dibate are both projected to have their names called at the 2022 NBA Draft and Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante Jones’ was Sun Belt Player of the Year last season. Oh yeah, and then there’s Hunter Dickinson, a second-team All-American and last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year. If at least half of these guys are as billed as advertised, the Wolverines shouldn’t notice any kind of drop in production.
+1000 to win the National Championship; +250 to make the Final Four
UCLA’s run to the final four—and nearly the final—as a 10-seed was the surprise of the tournament. This season, Mick Cronin’s squad return every player from that squad and also adds a projected top-10 pick in freshman Peyton Watson, making them the clear favorite to win their first Pac-12 title since 2013.
However, the Bruins did need to rally from 14-points down late and force OT against Michigan State just to get out of the First Four after a fourth-place conference finish. Early litmus tests against Villanova, Gonzaga, and UNC should let us know if what we saw was a team clicking into place or just a case of March magic.
+1100 to win the National Championship; +230 to make the Final Four
Chris Beard will have quite the puzzle in front of him in his first year as coach of the Longhorns, but having more talent than you know what to do with is a good problem to have. To replace the three players lost to July’s NBA Draft, the Longhorns bring in an all-star crew of transfers from Minnesota, Utah, Creighton, Kentucky, and an 18.8 ppg scorer from UMASS.
Those talented newcomers will join forces with a veteran backcourt of Andrew Jones (the team’s leading scorer in 2020-21) and Courtney Ramey (a 41% three-point shooter). Also in the mix will be Jaylon Tyson, the #31 recruit in the country. The Horns clearly have all the pieces, the challenge will now be on Beard to fit them all together.
+1100 to win the National Championship; +210 to make the Final Four
2021-22 looks to be another reload-not-rebuild year for Jay Wright’s Wildcats, who get back three upperclassmen that all averaged over 10 ppg last season. One of those is guard Collin Gillepsie, an early favorite (+1200) to win the Naismith Award.
Complementing that veteran experience are three incoming top-100 recruits as well as the return of Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, who started regularly in 2018-19 before missing last season due to a knee injury.
…and one more
Duke +1300 to win the National Championship; +400 to make the Final Four
The storyline of the year of course will be if Coach K can take Duke on one more magical run in his final year of coaching. The Blue Devils certainly have the talent to do so, with a starting five comprised of three returning starters and two top 30 incoming freshmen.
If you’re a strong believer in good stories influencing the outcome of games (and seasons), and even if you’re not, betting the Blue Devils isn’t the craziest NCAA basketball championship odds bet.